Every month we interview an athlete, local celebrity, or ShokzStar to get to know them better and find out what they’re up to. This month, we caught up with podcast superstar Ali Feller, AKA “Ali on the Run” to hear a little bit about podcasting, blogging, running, and life.
AfterShokz: Give us a quick introduction!
Ali: Gladly! I’m Ali Feller — Alison to my mom when I’m in trouble, but “Ali on the Run” to almost everyone else. I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog, which I started in 2010, and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast, which started as a fun side hobby and is now my career. Every week on the show, I talk with inspiring people who lead interesting lives on the run and beyond. Running brings us all together, but we cover so many topics, from work and family stuff to mental health, injuries, PRs, and more. I’m a new mom to 9-month-old Annie, and a dog mom to almost-4-year-old Ellie. My husband and I met when we lived in New York City, and now the four of us live across the river in Weehawken, NJ. When I’m not podcasting, doing mom things, or walking Ellie, I’m also a freelance writer and editor. I write for Well+Good, Women’s Health, Dance Spirit, Dance Magazine, and more.
AfterShokz: What inspired you to get into podcasting?
Ali: That move to Jersey I mentioned! When I lived in NYC, I rarely ran alone. The NYC running community is incredible, and even if I didn’t plan to run with friends, I’d always find a familiar face in Central Park or on the West Side Highway. But when we moved to NJ, I didn’t have any friends — yet! I discovered podcasts, which kind of felt like having friends on the run. At some point, I decided, “I could do that.” As a journalist, I’ve always loved sharing peoples’ stories, and now I get to do that every week.
AfterShokz: What questions do you get asked the most from other runners? And how do you answer? 😉
Ali: “Where’s the closest bathroom?” No, seriously. As a runner with Crohn’s disease, I know where every bathroom is, always. I could find every bathroom in Central Park blindfolded. Try me! This is my greatest skill, and I appreciate it when it comes in handy. (The second-most-asked question would be, “Can I be a guest on your podcast?” And I love when people want to share their amazing stories!)
AfterShokz: How has your running changed since you’ve started a family?
Ali: I get to do it with a jogging stroller! My husband got me a jogging stroller for Mother’s Day, and I’m so excited to go on running adventures with my little buddy in tow. But I’m also keeping my runs shorter these days. I used to go out and run for hours at a time. I don’t have that luxury anymore! So when I go out, I’m not stopping and walking and taking photos and scrolling Instagram at mile 2.5. I’m out, and I’m back. I have things to do! I also take it so much less seriously now. There was a time in my life when running was perhaps my main focus. And it might be again someday, but right now it’s just not, and that’s OK.
AfterShokz: How do you and your husband juggle family life with your careers (and training!)?
Ali: Thank you for saying “juggle” and not “balance!” There’s no balance in our world — something I’m sure many busy parents will agree with. But yes, we are juggling, and sometimes, often, balls get dropped. I’m learning to be more OK with that! Right now, my workouts happen at 5 AM. I’m up at 4:20, in the car at 4:45, and pulling up to Orangetheory in time for the 5:15 AM class. I’m back home by 6:30 AM — right when our daughter wakes up. The early wakeup isn’t my favourite, but it means I don’t miss anything at home, and my husband can still get to work on time. We have a part-time nanny four days per week, from 7:30 AM until 2 PM, so that’s when I get all my work done (and when I shower!). From 2 PM until bedtime, it’s me, Ellie, and Annie, finding adventures and keeping ourselves busy. After Annie goes to bed around 7 PM, I make dinner, and then usually work until 10 PM. (Note to self: GO TO BED EARLIER.) On the weekends, my husband does the morning shift with Annie so that I can get a workout in. He doesn’t get to sit and have breakfast with her most days during the week, so it’s a treat for him to get that time on the weekends. Early on, all of this was a mess. But at nine months, life is a little more predictable, and we have a routine most days. Her sleeping through the night helps everyone!
AfterShokz: Tell us about living with Crohn's Disease? How has it impacted the ways you approach training?
Ali: Good timing, because my Crohn’s is actually — unfortunately — flaring right now. And that means that I’m not running outside at all. My predominant Crohn’s symptom is bathroom stuff. Runners, you know when you’re on the run and suddenly last night’s dinner hits you, and you need a bathroom right this second? Life with a Crohn’s flare is that all the time, regardless of what was for dinner. So running outside can be extremely stressful. That’s why I do a lot of Orangetheory workouts because it’s indoors and the studio has three restrooms at my disposal! I miss running outside, especially because I love summer long runs, but I’ve learned to do what I can, when I can. Right now I can’t run outside, but someday I’ll be able to, and I’ll be grateful for that.
AfterShokz: What’s YOUR favourite topic to talk about?
Ali: “How did you get where you are today?” I love getting that story from guests on the Ali on the Run Show. What decisions helped shape them? Did they become what they wanted to be when they were younger? Why or why not? These stories fascinate me.
AfterShokz: What is your all-time favourite pump-up jam? What kind of music do you generally listen to during training?
Ali: Celine Dion, “I Drove All Night.” It was the first song that came on my playlist during my very first half-marathon in 2009, so it still holds a special place in my heart, a full decade later. I also love The Greatest Showman soundtrack, Robyn, Ariana Grande, Pink, Little Mix, and anything you’re likely to hear during a Zumba class. (All listened to on full-blast with my AfterShokz, obviously!)
AfterShokz: Who inspires you, and why?
Ali: Gabe Grunewald, always and forever. I was so fortunate to get to know Gabe when she was a guest on the Ali on the Run Show, and her legacy is so powerful and so important. Gabe faced insurmountable odds, living with a rare and unrelenting form of cancer. She taught me — she taught us all — what it means to be #bravelikegabe. I’ll never forget her telling me that “it’s OK to struggle, but it’s not OK to give up.”
AfterShokz: What’s next for you, Ali?
Ali: Hopefully getting healthy! That’s top priority right now! I haven’t given up on my 2019 TCS New York City Marathon hopes and dreams. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this flare kicks it ASAP so I can still get in some training and toe that line in November. If not, I’ll be out there cheering — with Annie, of course!